It is quite challenging for a country like India with a 1.32 billion population to provide housing for all. The working group on rural housing for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan estimated the rural housing shortage in India to be 43.13 million in 2012. The magnitude of housing problem is rising with every passing day. To address the gaps in the rural housing scheme and to achieve “Housing for All by 2022”, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 20th November, 2016. Sandeep Sharma takes a look at the rural housing segment in India...
A major policy concern for a country like India is the widening gap between demand and supply of housing units and inadequate housing finance solutions. The housing shortage is mainly in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Lower Income Group (LIG). The demand for housing is ever increasing but there is a shortage of credit flow.
To completely wipe out housing shortage in India, the need of the hour is to holistically focus on improving the affordability quotient. Affordability is a biggest challenge not only for the rural folks but for the urbanites also. Affordability is a challenge in all emerging economies which can be addressed through an effective housing finance system and through institutional support. Innovating financing products can go a long way in improving the affordability factor and institutional support in the form of interest subvention can help individuals to fulfil their housing needs. Availability of long term funds definitely allows greater flexibility and improved affordability for individuals who can allocate their savings and deploy other resources towards buying an affordable home. Due to insufficient avenues of affordable home finance, it has resulted in poor living conditions for a large segment of the population living in rural areas lacking access to basic civic amenities and sub-standard hygienic conditions. The Government of India from time to time have announced various policy measures and program to boost the country’s housing and housing finance sectors and promote inclusive housing, particularly for the poor/weaker sections in urban as well as rural areas.
PRADHAN MANTRI AWAS YOJANA – GRAMIN (PMAY-G)
The erstwhile rural housing programme, Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), was restructured into PMAY-G. The new Rural Housing programme is designed to meet the needs and aspirations of households. With a higher unit cost, it allows for construction using local materials and local house designs. Homes will have cooking area, toilet, LPG connection, electricity connection and water supply through convergence, and beneficiaries can plan their homes as per their need. The selection of beneficiaries has been through a rigorous process using Socio Economic Census (SECC) Data for those who are homeless or in 0, 1, 2 kutcha rooms with kutcha roof. The SECC Data has been validated by Gram Sabha and also subjected to space technology validation to ensure that there is no inclusion of errors.
RURAL BENEFICIARIES UNDER PMAY-G
Selection of beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) is based on housing deprivation parameters of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011, subject to 13 point exclusion criteria, followed by Gram Sabha verification. Households that are homeless or living in zero, one or two room kutcha houses (kutcha wall and kutcha roof) are provided financial assistance for construction of pucca houses under PMAY-G.
TARGETS UNDER PMAY-G
The re-structured rural housing scheme PMAG-G envisage the construction of 2.95 crore houses by 2022. The objective will be achieved in phases. In the first phase the target is construction of one crore pucca houses by 31st March, 2019.
More than 76 lakh beneficiaries have been sanctioned houses, approximately 63 lakh beneficiaries have received 1st instalment against the overall target of constructing 1 crore PMAY-Gramin houses by December, 2018. The highest numbers of PMAY-G houses have been completed in the State of Uttar Pradesh during the financial year 2017-18 followed by Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. Almost all States having the highest number of PMAY-G beneficiaries, including Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand etc. are on course for completion of PMAY-G houses within the prescribed time-frame. As of April, 2018 PIB communique, so far 38.22 lakh PMAY-G houses have been completed. The faster completion of quality houses under PMAY-G has been facilitated by payment of assistance directly into the beneficiary account through IT-DBT platform directly from single State Nodal Account maintained at the State level.As on 31st July, 2018, a summary of houses completed is given below indicating an upward swing.
Ministry of Rural Development has developed a Performance Index incorporating various parameters of progress under PMAY-G and use it to monitor the progress of projects under the scheme across States, Districts, Blocks and Gram Panchayats. It also helps in identifying areas of improvement and to motivate the authorities towards achieving better performance in implementation of the programme.
To ensure quality construction of a house and to facilitate availability of trained masons in the rural areas, Rural Mason Trainings are being organized. A total of 25,000 trainees have been enrolled, out of which 12,500 trainees have been trained and certified. The rural mason training has been initiated in 11 States and the States of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have taken the lead and have the highest number of certified rural masons. It is targeted to train 1 lakh rural masons by March, 2019 which will contribute towards not only the quality construction of PMAY-G houses in rural India but also to the skilled manpower pool of the country. Women folks are also in the forefront of getting trained as masons.
Technology has been used to empower the poor. House designs prepared by UNDP-IIT, Delhi or by the concerned states have been made available to beneficiaries to choose the house designs that they like. 168 house designs typologies, suitable to local conditions and using locally available construction material, have been developed for 15 States. These house designs are cost effective & disaster resilient and they have been vetted by Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee.
In PMAY-G, programme implementation and monitoring is to be carried out through an end to end e-Governance model- Using AwaasSoft and Awaas App. While AwaasSoft is a workflow enabled, web-based electronic service delivery platform through which all critical function of PMAY-G, right from identification of beneficiary to providing construction linked assistance (through PFMS),will be carried out; AwaasApp-a the mobile application is to be used to monitor real time, evidence based progress of house construction through date and time stamped and geo-referenced photographs of the house. The tow IT application helps identify the slip ups in the achievement of targets during the course of implementation of the programme. All payments to beneficiary is to be through DBT to beneficiary’s Bank/post office accounts registered in Awaas SoftMIS.
The completed PMAY-G houses are changing the rural landscape and ushering in social-economic transformation in villages across the country. The provision of housing accelerates social-economic development, raises the quality of life and generates conditions which are congenial to the achievement of social objectives such as health, sanitation and education.